"In the operatic canon, there's a whole lot of male swagger, seduction, anger, and violence but a notable lack of vulnerability. Dramatically, I'm interested in shame and vulnerability, particularly in the lives of men."
I wanted to be Billy Joel when I was growing up because he was a classically trained pianist too. He wrote his own music, sang his own stuff, arranged his own music, his songs, and told a story.
"The stories of Lucretia and Virginia, gruesome and tragic, were seen by audiences of the Renaissance as stories of women's battles against tyranny. These stories of these women's heroic battles seem particularly apt and poignant at present. Botticelli's paintings illustrate these alarming and urgent stories with vividness."
Siem's concert is part of TUCCA's ongoing Music for a Cure concert series, which has traveled internationally, and comes to the UK for the first time in collaboration with INCTR and CARF-UK.
Bybee sings the Pilot, opposite 11-year-old Nitai Fluchel in the title role. We spoke with Bybee about working on this opera, and his unexpected path to a singing career.
"If you want to see our bucket list, there's about a hundred pages of endless Google docs of repertoire ideas that we've been marinating for years. Some pieces stay on the list because they are just waiting for the right venue, the right collaborators, the right concert."
"The audiences in Covent Garden are just unbelievable, so generous and warm! I am so grateful for this and absolutely love singing here."
For the moment, Stagg is enjoying Chicago. Recent highlights include bundling up for a walk through Millennium Park, an outing to hear Verdi's Requiem with Riccardo Muti at the Chicago Symphony, and a trip to the city's famed Art Institute, where she especially enjoyed the collection of French impressionist paintings.
We discussed all things opera: the career, the "life," the work, the music. Naturally, as compatriots, we touched on Polish music and reminisced on our experiences at the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw where we both studied, albeit ten years apart. We conversed in Polish. Below I provide an English translation of our conversation, edited solely to account for grammatical and syntactic necessities.
"In Turandot, that we did last year, or in All is Calm, the expressive potency of the human voice is the commonality. The spoken word is expressive too because it uses the human voice. It has music, it has rhythm, it has form, and it has pitch – all the things that some music does, but just that it is spoken. That is the dramatic glue to this piece."